The national grocery store giant announced it is launching a new delivery service known as Kroger Delivery Now, which aims to bring items to customers’ doorsteps in as little as 30 minutes nationwide, a company press release claims.
Instacart, which has been a strategic partner of The Kroger Co. since 2017, is being utilized to help the grocery store chain deliver fresh food and household items "from early morning to late at night."
Orders will be fulfilled by the Kroger Family of Stores and give customers access to more than 25,000 items.
"Kroger Delivery Now is a differentiated solution in the e-commerce industry, not just the grocery sector," said Kroger's Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen, in a statement. "Our new service provides customers with one more way to shop with us and addresses the importance of convenience and immediacy."
He went on, "Operationally, this service reaches up to 50 million households and it's an expansion of our thriving e-commerce model that demonstrates strategic interplay among our assets, expansive store network, supply chain, and dedicated fulfillment centers and fleet, joined by Instacart's unrivaled fulfillment model and last-mile technology to provide our customers with anything, anytime, anywhere without compromise."
Prior to the launch of Kroger Delivery Now, the Kroger Family of Stores and Instacart offered two-hour delivery.
The grocery chain has also upped investments in advanced delivery technology in recent years, including its use of automated distribution centers, drone tests and ghost kitchen dispatch.
Kroger and Instacart’s speedy delivery initiative competes directly with express delivery services offered by other retail giants like Walmart and Amazon, which generally promise to deliver goods in two hours or less.
McMullen says Kroger made more than $10 billion in e-commerce sales in 2020 and aims to double its "digital sales and profitability rate by the end of 2023."
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The Kroger Family of Stores is a parent company to 16 regional grocery store chains, including its namesake Kroger, Ralphs, City Market, Food 4 Less and Harris Teeter.
Outside of Kroger Delivery Now, Instacart announced it's launching a similar delivery model with a newly added Convenience Hub on its online platform. The hub will reportedly help customers shop for grocery or household items 24/7 and Instacart Express members will be provided a free Priority Delivery option, so deliveries can be made in 30 minutes or less.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, grocery delivery services have exploded with demand.
A market research report conducted by Grand View Research – a business consulting firm – predicts the online grocery market size will grow to $1.1 trillion by 2027.
"Increasing number of smartphones, their use, and rising number of smartphone users are anticipated to boost the market growth over the forecast period," the firm’s report states. "Along with these factors, [the recent coronavirus pandemic] is another major contributor of [the] rising number of online grocery shoppers across the globe."